TEXT: Luke 13:1-5; Isaiah 1:18; 55:6-7
The students will be able to explain what repentance is and the necessity of it in order to be saved.
Isaiah lived under four of Judah’s kings. During the reign of Hezekiah, when the worship of God was restored, there occurred a sweeping revival in the kingdom, and the people of the nation were turned toward God. This was near the end of Isaiah’s life and, no doubt, was the result of the lifetime ministry by this godly man. Isaiah, through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, has given us many insights into God’s sublime and wonderful plan concerning the coming of Christ, the dispersion and the restoration of the nation of Israel, and the coming millennial age.
From the time of the first sin and the knowledge of God’s judgment, repentance and a sin offering were necessary for restoration to God’s fellowship. Repentance was the theme of John the Baptist’s preaching as well as that of Christ’s. To repent is to turn from one’s sins. When one repents he has a sorrow and a regret for his past; he has a desire to change for the better; he asks forgiveness and is willing to make right those things in his life which are against God and his fellowman.
The Bible tells us that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” No one can go to Heaven who has not been cleansed from his sins. But before one can receive salvation and forgiveness, he must first repent of those sins he has committed.
- What does repent mean?
Response: According to Webster’s dictionary the word repent means, “to feel so contrite over one’s sins so as to change or decide to change one’s ways; be penitent.” An individual may feel distressed or regret receiving the consequences of misconduct but that is not enough—he must change. Repentance is a word of action and power. When one repents unto salvation, it is literally a yielding of the will to God, and feeling sorry that he has grieved Him. This will be accompanied by a desire to never do so again. It also implies a continuation of this attitude throughout one’s Christian experience.
- What is necessary before a person can repent?
Response: Your students may refer to the key verse and answer that it is necessary for the wicked man to forsake his way. This is true. But before this can take place, he must recognize that his way is wrong in God’s sight. They probably will further say that after forsaking his way, the sinful man must return to the Lord. Discussion should center around the fact that it is the Spirit of God that causes these things to happen in a person’s life.
- Why might the statement, “I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” be insufficient to bring about salvation?
Response: Discuss the fact that the Bible states that the devils believe and tremble, but they are not saved. A person may have a belief that Jesus truly is the Son of God, and yet still not be repentant. Ask your students why true faith cannot be separated from a willingness to obey God’s Word, concluding that we cannot truly believe God without obeying Him, and we cannot obey Him without believing Him.
- Which words in the following verses indicate that repentance takes action?
Response: Isaiah 1:18 — come, reason
Ezekiel 18:31 — cast away
Hosea 14:2 — turn to the Lord
Joel 2:12 — fasting, weeping, mourning
As your students discuss the words they have found, help them bring out that one does not come to God without exerting some effort. A person will never drift into salvation. Ask your students if this action is always apparent. They should reach the conclusion that often repentance is accompanied by visible signs (tears, restitutions, etc.) but even if physical action is not observable, there will be an inward action—a turning to God and a complete rejection of all things evil or sinful.
- What are the eternal consequences of the statement of Jesus, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”?
Response: The student should be aware that a choice must be made. One must either be sorry for his sins and gain Heaven for his eternal home, or show a rebellious self-sufficient attitude which will eventually damn him to eternal Hell and separation from God forever.
- Many people attempt to justify the fact that they have sins which are unrepented of by saying their sins are not serious enough to require repentance. Why is this false?
Response: This question should help your students understand that there is no way for man to justify sin. All sin separates from God. A knowledge of sin in one’s life brings condemnation. There is only one door to removal of that condemnation— that door is repentance.
- How much does it cost a person to receive salvation?
Response: There is no monetary price on salvation. The cost was paid by Jesus on Calvary. However, when a person becomes a Christian he gives his all to Christ—he gives his life. Have your students discuss the fact that a saved person will live a different kind of life. The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. It further teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Some people fail to pay this price, feeling it is too high. How sad this is, for they are dealing with eternal life.
- How can you know you are saved?
Response: When we repent of our sins and are willing to forsake them, God is faithful and just to forgive us. His Spirit will then bear witness that we are the children of God. Conclude your lesson by having your students discuss Romans 3:23, showing the need for all to repent and to seek salvation.
Explain that Aiden, in the ANSWER story, took several steps to reach salvation. From construction paper, cut out four large footprints and label them, “Feels condemnation” (realizes he has done wrong), “Is sorry,” “Asks forgiveness,” “Believes and receives salvation.” Have students arrange these in the right order. Explain why the order must be that way.
Invite someone to your class who testifies of a radical change in his life. Let him tell his story to your students.
Display the famous picture of Jesus knocking at the door which has no handle. Explain that when Jesus knocks at the door of someone’s heart, only that person can open the door. Be sure they know that Jesus is knocking at the door of every heart. If possible, take students to a door that will open only from inside and let them try opening it from the outside.
Using a set of Legos or other construction set, put together a house, car, or some other shape. Let the students look it over carefully, then dismantle it and have them help you make a totally different shape. Liken this to how Jesus takes each of us and, when we repent and believe, makes us into something brand-new.
Bring two cups to class—one clean and one dirty. Explain that Heaven is for the pure in heart and that our “cup” must go through a cleansing process to be acceptable to God.